Amazon today announced details of AWS Snowmobile, a 45 foot long truck that accelerates the process of transferring on-premise data to the Amazon cloud for customers that have petabytes or exabytes of data to migrate. Customers with massive volumes of data can connect AWS Snowmobile to their network as an NFS-mounted volume and use their existing applications to transfer data that is ultimately bound for Amazon S3 or Amazon Glacier. AWS Snowmobile requires 350 kW of power and features rugged physical protection as well as data protection functionality such as encryption and GPS-tracking. AWS Professional Services helps customers install and set up AWS Snowmobile and subsequently allow customers to reap the benefits of a process-driven infrastructure for transferring massive amounts of data securely to the cloud. AWS Snowmobile takes the hassle out of transferring exabyte-scale to the Amazon cloud and offers a solution to the problem of enterprise-level workload migration.
DigitalGlobe currently uses AWS SnowMobile to transfer 100 PB of high resolution satellite imagery to Amazon Glacier with a celerity and efficiency that was heretofore unavailable, thereby allowing customers greater access to its data and facilitating the execution of distributed analytics. DigitalGlobe characterizes AWS Snowmobile as a “game changer” but the larger question for AWS Snowmobile is whether customers will place their bets on such a brazenly un-Amazon-like technology solution given its lack of technological elegance and the sheer crudity of a truck showing up at a company’s doorstep to transfer petabytes of data in the era of digital transformation. The other obvious question is how many customers will jump at the opportunity to move petabytes of data to the Amazon Cloud but, as the example of DigitalGlobe illustrates, the urgency of the business need to transfer data to the cloud may well over-ride the sheer lack of elegance of the solution.